Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
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7 September 2012 | PR 12/160

Unsung Heroes: The Vital Role of Coaches in our Gold Medal Haul



World first research from Loughborough University has highlighted the importance of a good quality relationship between coaches and their athletes in ensuring world-class performance, and increasing successful and satisfying participation in sport at all levels.

The ongoing research program – carried out by a team of researchers from the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences and led by Dr Sophia Jowett, alongside national and international collaborators – emphasises that the coach-athlete relationship is not an ‘add-on’ or ‘by-product’ of sport, but the foundation of sport.

Dr Jowett and her research team have developed the world’s first and only theoretical model to explain the content and quality of the coach-athlete relationship. This model is known as:  3+1Cs: Closeness, Commitment, Complementarity, and Co-orientation. The 3+1Cs model and its accompanied psychometric measures have enabled them to systematically explore the links between the quality of the coach-athlete relationship (i.e. 3+1Cs) and important factors such as performance, satisfaction, motivation, passion, confidence, physical self-concept across different level of sport participation ranging from elite to grassroots sport.

Dr Sophia Jowett said the team’s research shows the relationship developed between coaches and athletes is a fundamental medium that can make the journey to achieving great success less arduous and more fulfilling.

“We have heard the best athletes in the world during the recent Olympic and Paralympic Games say how grateful they were of their coaches’ efforts and belief in them. Their statements not only underline their appreciation, respect, and commitment to their coaches but also reflects the importance of these coach-athlete partnerships,” she said.

“ It is important to educate athletes and coaches at all levels of participation of the vital role effective coach-athlete relationships can ultimately play in their success and satisfaction.”

In the wake of Team GBs Olympic and Paralympic success and subsequent increased interest in, and importance placed on, developing world class sport performances in the UK, Dr Jowett said now is the time to incorporate this accumulated knowledge and understanding around coach-athlete relationships into coach education programmes, as well as into sport policy development that aims to support the developing athlete and coach or promote the interests of sport at all levels.

“While our research is on-going, we now have more research findings than ever before to show how pivotal the quality of the coach-athlete relationship is for athletes and coaches’ experience of sport,” she said


For all media enquiries contact:

Emma O’Neill
Public Relations Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 223491
M: 07530 390698
E: E.Oneill@lboro.ac.uk

For more information contact:

Dr Sophia Jowettl
School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences
Loughborough University
M: 07971414866
E: S.Jowett@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2011 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the Best Student Experience in England every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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This page was last updated on Friday September 7, 2012 15:18